August 11, 2015 // Franchising.com // VERNON HILLS, IL – Spurred on by the popularity of its award-winning, healthy soup recipes, Zoup! is preparing to open its 10th restaurant in the Chicagoland area next week.
Husband and wife franchisee team Allan and Lauren Woodrow will debut the nation’s leading fast-casual, fresh soup concept in Vernon Hills at the Hawthorn Hills Square shopping center on Thursday, Aug. 13.
Allan is an internationally published children’s author, with numerous magazine and book credits. He writes under both his own name and aliases. Allan’s next novel, Class Dismissed, will be published by Scholastic in September. Lauren is an accomplished graphic designer, specializing in textbook and educational development for domestic and global clients.
“What initially drew us to Zoup! was the unique and wide variety of delicious soup recipes they offered, along with the high quality of all the items on its menu,” said Allan, who lives in Vernon Hills with his wife and family. “Then, as we did our homework on the company, we were equally impressed by its culture, the excellent support provided by the front office and the popularity of fast-casual restaurants in general.”
With more than 80 restaurants in 18 states and Ontario, Canada, Zoup! is carving out a unique niche in the rapidly growing fast casual dining segment. The company is targeting Illinois as part of an overall expansion strategy.
Zoup! features hundreds of award-winning soup recipes with 12 rotating daily varieties, including low-fat, low-cal, vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free options, all served with a hunk of freshly baked bread. Customer favorites include Chicken Potpie, Lobster Bisque and Vegetarian Split Pea. The menu also features made-to-order salads and sandwiches, and all items are available in convenient catering sizes for groups of 10 or more.
“Soup is the very definition of comfort food, but it can also be a healthy, nutritious and satisfying meal,” said Eric Ersher, Founder and CEO of Zoup! “We think Chicago is a terrific market for our hand-crafted soups, and the Woodrows have the passion and the customer-service dedication that we look for in our franchisees. I believe Vernon Hills is going to love their new Zoup!”
In addition to its unique and diverse menu, Zoup! is built on a foundation of guiding principles called Zoup!isms.
“Our Zoup!isms provide a framework for decision-making and help create a strong culture and brand image,” Ersher explained. “They also dictate the brand’s uncompromisingly high standards and help guarantee the authenticity and quality of every pot, bowl and cup served.”
Prior to its official grand opening, the new Vernon Hills store will hold a fundraiser on Wednesday, Aug. 12, from 5 – 8 p.m. Guests may order a bowl of their favorite soup, a hunk of fresh-baked bread and a small drink for $5. All proceeds will be donated to the Vernon Hills High School Cougar Athletic Boosters, an all-volunteer and parent-led organization that provides financial support for the boys and girls athletic programs at VHHS.
“The VHHS Boosters is an outstanding group that supports a bunch of great local kids,” said Woodrow. “I’m really proud to dedicate our pre-opening fundraiser to them, and I hope lots of folks turn out to enjoy some delicious soup and help us raise a lot of money for the Cougar athletics program.”
The new Vernon Hills restaurant, located at 700 N. Milwaukee Avenue in the Hawthorn Hills Square shopping center, will be the 10th Zoup! in Illinois and the 84th system-wide. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Founded in 1998, Zoup! is the leading fast-casual soup concept restaurant that is defining the category with its premium and proprietary soups and other recipes. A dining experience that features 12 always-rotating soup varieties each day in an environment that focuses on comfort, satisfaction and convenience, Zoup! has grown its network of franchises to over 80 restaurants throughout the District of Columbia, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Ontario, Canada and Wisconsin. For more information, visit Zoup.com or Zoupfranchise.com.
Founder & Principal